The Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II School of International Studies organized a seminar dubbed: "ASEAN and the Middle East: Trajectories for Future Relations," presented by Dr. Philips Vermonte, the Executive Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The event was attended by several ASEAN Ambassadors including the ambassadors of Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Thailand, in addition a number of diplomats, businesspeople, and scholars.
The seminar addressed cooperation between ASEAN and the Middle East in terms of politics and security, economy and trade, and people, as well as the geopolitical and geo-economic situation in East Asia.
During the lecture, Vermonte noted that the Middle East and Southeast Asia share common religious beliefs, stressing the importance of maintaining internal and regional peace and security, and the richness in people-to-people relations.
The expert also pointed out that countries in both regions have established numerous cooperation ties related to security and defense, especially in the fight against terrorism.
On the economic side, Vermonte stated that "economic and trade cooperation of ASEAN members and Middle East countries have long been established through multi-commodity trade-based economic and the food for oil trade framework".
According to Vermonte, total ASEAN export to 15 Middle East countries was $37.89 billion in 2016, while import was $56.17 billion, adding that most of ASEAN exports are electric and manufacturing products, while imports are oil and fuel products.
He also spoke about the expanded cooperation between the Gulf Cooperating Council (GCC) and Arab League with ASEAN, confirming that economic cooperation can only be strengthened if there are strong practical needs and political will.
Concerning ASEAN – Jordan economic relations, the expert specified that the total ASEAN export, from 8 countries, to Jordan was $379.68 million in 2016, while import $272.59 million.
Furthermore, Vermonte pointed out that in 2016 Indonesia was Jordan’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia, "Jordan has also been increasing its investment in Indonesia, particularly for manufacturing sector through joint ventures with Indonesian companies," he continued.
Indonesian Ambassador to Jordan Andy Rachmianto said in his welcoming address, that his country prides itself on fostering strong and solid relations with Jordan, commending Jordan's leadership and its efforts to resolve regional disputes and promote peace and security in the region.
The event was moderated by Assistant Dean for International Academic Cooperation, Dr. Nasser Tahboub.